Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Crime Named Illegal Constructions!





“You can’t build a reputation for yourself on, “what you are going to do”, “… Henry Ford.

No need to give an introduction to this name, the all time greatest business mind (not just industrialist) has put in perfect words about making a name & I think his this quote should be carved on our every govt’s office, especially those which governs real estate! As usual my most of writing get initiated from our “mai baap” govt’s actions which media is so eager to publish & when it’s the subject of illegal constructions then more so! As since long, illegal construction has haunted every govt in ruling; I used the term haunted because the people who calls themselves as govt still not sure that how to project their stance about illegal constructions? As every govt clearly wants illegal constructions but can’t accept it openly (read legally, thanks to the Hon Courts still exists in this country). The reason why I am saying this is there were two news in recent about illegal constructions, one was Mumbai Municipal Corporation will be using satellite survivelance to keep an eye on illegal constructions.  Well great, superb, wonderful, innovative, and thoughtful all such terminology’s came to my mind when I read the news! By the way before that also some planning authority (I have forgot the name also as mostly our brain doesn’t stores useless information, as per one survey) has made announcement which promptly has been carried by media that it will be keeping eye on illegal construction via Drones! Well, first Drones now satellite & what next, call aliens to keep watch on illegal constructions! Problem with our rulers is they are getting so shameless that the very same rulers (read govt) first allows illegal constructions & then announce such foolish plans of keeping eye on it, as a common man I ask how in first place so many illegal constructions happens around so easily that you need a satellite to keep an eye on them? As we are not talking about illegal constructions in some remote inaccessible area but very much in city in-front of our very eyes! And using satellites for keeping an eye on illegal buildings is just like presently every Police Chief is telling the societies or shop keepers or banks to fix CC TV in their premise for the safety. I presume the job of CC TV is to capture crime happening as evidence but that doesn’t stop the crime happening which is more important! But police now days are holding responsible the complainants’ that he hasn’t got fixed the CC TV in or around his home so the burglary happened. Agreed CC TV does help in detecting crimes but what about police vigilance & fear of the law in mind of criminals which is main factor in curbing the crime from happening in first place?

And then comes my second question that if in CC TV which are effective only if someone is keeping constant eye on them & monitoring the wrong things being captured in it, & if such person sees a murder being happened on CC TV; then will he wait for order of court o act or give notice to the person who is murdering someone or shoot the criminal? I think here lays the gist of attitude of our govt when it’s controlling illegal construction. Someone might think mine is farfetched logic i.e. applying murder, CC TV to satellite survivalance for illegal constructions but let me tell you, more than murder or burglary, illegal construction is far serious crime. As when you build an illegal structure where hundreds of families will be living or working (if commercial building) then look at the crimes you commit in doing so! First you are encroaching on govt’s land ( most illegal buildings are build on govt’s land, that’s safest place) means its people’s property (read money) & has been reserved to serve the entire society which won’t happen now as the land is being used for crime. Second is the builder (read the one who has build the illegal structure) makes money by selling units  in such building to again people from the society by cheating them as no sane person will buy illegal homes/ offices with his hard earned money. Means cheating is involved in the crime along with looting public money. Third & foremost can you except good quality construction form the cheater or burglar attitude person, definitely answer will be “No”, means such person will build a building which will be dangerous to the users as fatal accident can happen with such building & refer all the major accidents (actually we can’t call them accidents, its murders) happened with buildings taking lives of hundreds of occupants & most of them you will find were illegal! And lastly by allowing illegal constructions happening in the city, we are making mockery of all the legal constructions, as in a way we are sending a message that those who follow or respect the law are fools! And by doing this we are in a way leading the entire society away from its basic purpose i.e. making ourselves a cultured peaceful living community, which we won’t ever be with this crime of illegal constructions happening around us! I hope I have tried to make you understand why I referred illegal constructions as more serious crime than murder & burglary as all these end results occurs when a building is illegally built!

Now coming to the news aspect of using satellite or drones to keep an eye on illegal buildings; well, to keep an eye on traffic I can understand that as traffic is a flowing thing & an accident can happen in a flash moment & by keeping an eye means monitoring the traffic not just remain the observer of traffic. Same way in a society CC TV acts as additional support to the watchman whose job is to stay alert & restrict entry of any outsider in the building premise as can you accept the logic that there is no watchman & just CC TV will protect the society from thieves? You will laugh at such idea so just keeping an eye won’t curb the crime rather it’s a post crime effort as I said earlier. Now consider illegal constructions, like the traffic jam or road accident or theft in society, does an illegal building gets build in over night or in some flash moment? Even a small kid can tell that even a single storied structure needs at-least a month to build then what the so called watchmen (read officers) who are supposed to stop illegal constructions were doing for one month when this building is being build? Rather look at all the constructions happening in & around our Pune city & who is taking any effort to stop the illegal constructions rather what checking system we have to check in first place which is legal & which is illegal construction, is the question we should ask. I remember, few years back when one such illegal building has been collapsed (most of them meet same end) the then concerned officer at top (read boss) called as usual meeting of all the interesting parties for action plan against illegal construction. First thing was making a list of all the so called illegal buildings in Pune District & in that meeting only one junior officer has jokingly commented, “Sir rather we should list the legal buildings first, that will be a easy task”, I think need I required to explain more about scene on this front of real estate? I am not worried about the scene on illegal constructions front as even in so called best country like USA, crime was on rampant & Mafia’s (The Mob) were used to rule the cities like Chicago. But the then USA govt took hard action against criminal & curbed entire criminal world, agreed crimes is second name of human nature & it won’t ever vanish but at least we can reduce its existence as that’s what we call a livable society. So it’s not the numbers of illegal constructions around us which bothers me but attitude of our rulers towards them is what main concern! Because all our rulers are like the myth of two faced snake, where one heads speaks sweet the other head spits venom, as on one head of our govt tries to show how innovatively & seriously it want to fight against illegal constructions where as the other head is busy in allowing the illegal constructions flourish as well regularize them! 

As, recently I got to read a news regarding some petition filed by an NGO challenging the decision of our State Govt, for regularizing illegal constructions till 2015. The Hon Court in first hearing itself has rightly asked, why up to 2015 only, what yard stick has been applied in doing so? And our this very govt (read rulers) now is busy in defending their love for illegal construction so why waste money in keeping eye on the same first, by applying satellites or drones, is I will like to ask.

Instead we have thousand of unemployed educated youth force with us, so why are we not using it to strengthen the so called anti illegal drive by forming a special squad at every city level? On one side whenever there is order from Hon High Court to demolish the illegal buildings the very same govt  under name of PCMC, MMC or Collector, starts crying about inadequate staff or infrastructure to remove the millions of illegal constructions & then issues a notification to regularize the illegal buildings, as that’s easier option. The problem is not of adequate infrastructure or man power as just like our public transport system is deliberately kept week so people has to buy private vehicles, in same way the anti illegal construction squad or drive (if at all its there) is kept weak, so people can build illegal buildings easily! As the illegal buildings helps two ways to the govt (read rulers), most of these builders (read the people who constructs illegal buildings) are some way related to some political party, so the "karyakartas" are kept happy & then homes or units in such buildings are way cheaper than legal buildings, so the buyers (read voters) are happy. And then every govt from 1995 has done one thing promptly & that is to keep the dead line of regularizing illegal buildings extending & now it has come to 2015! So in a way you keep securing vote bank & then tell me which party doesn’t want a happy vote bank?

Frankly illegal buildings is outcome of every govt’s failure to make affordable legal homes available to the masses & as govt fails to do this, so it turns a blind eye towards illegal construction & that’s the sole cause we are seeing more illegal buildings around than the legal ones! As on one side the govt keeps real estate bombarding with near impossible policies like parking provision, delaying development plans of the cities, 12% GST, ever increasing ready reckoner rates (though this year even govt didn’t dare to hike them as few voters lives in legal homes too & elections are nearby), no control on rates of essential materials like steel/cement as well land itself or not providing basic civic infra like roads, water & drainage to root level & yet expects affordable homes from the developers! And when the poor home buyer can’t afford to buy the legal homes the very same govt not only allows illegal buildings to be build but eventually regularize the same which in a way is killing the legal home & such legal home builders! I think high time like Cine/Movie Industry has united against piracy of movies same way CREDAI & such developers associations must unite against illegal constructions & take only available solace i.e. Hon High Court or Supreme Court. Though one hitch is there as even if court orders to demolish then it’s very same govt which is supposed to do the demolishing & we all have witnessed the enthusiasm of the govt for doing this. But till then at least we can keep fighting & making people aware about such two mouthed approach of govt towards this crime named illegal construction or else one day we will forget the term legal itself! Finally, I repeat I am not against use of technology like satellite or drones (even taking help of aliens, I don’t mind) but remember no technology will curb the hideous crime named illegal constructions but our will & wish to do so can only do it. Technology is just a weapon but finally any weapon’s effectiveness depends on the hands which held it & unfortunately our ruler’s (past & present) hands are not only weak but dirty too, so “God Bless the Legal Buildings & its Builders”, is all I can say!

Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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